Pictures of a bule (westerner) panhandling at a traffic light in Bali have been getting a mix of sympathy and criticism since they were posted to Facebook on Sunday.
Local media have identified the man in the photos as German citizen Benjamin Holst (spellings of his last name have varied across different Indonesian media sources) and the location as a light at Jl. Bypass Ir Soekarno Hatta in Peken, Tabanan.
“Please help him so he can be repatriated to his country, because doing that could help Bali’s image abroad,” one person commented on the Facebook post.
“He is professional beggar. Did the same in Bangkok, got help as some people collected funds, spend the money on party and continued begging. Just don’t give him anything,” the netizen advised.
“If the Indo people realy want to help him, the immigration should put him in jail for some weeks because of working as a begger without Appropriate visa. Just deporting doesnt give him a lesson,” the netizen continued.
So, could this guy really be the one and the same German ‘scammer’ who was found begging on Bangkok’s famous Khaosan Road back in 2014? Back then, the German embassy arranged for the man to fly back home, but he instead skipped out with donated money for some wild partying in Pattaya. Sure looks like the same guy—the man’s trademarked swollen foot is a bit of a dead giveaway!
Editor’s Note: Additional information has been added to this article.